Last night, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ignored the plain language of our state’s laws and struck down the Safer at Home order, in a decision that has all of the hallmarks of a partisan, predetermined outcome. This type of decision-making has no place on Wisconsin’s highest court, but especially when lives are at stake.
Most concerning is that the court declined to keep the Safer at Home order in place temporarily while a replacement could be established. The court’s order requires the use of the administrative rulemaking process which cannot happen instantly. However, this decision by the Supreme Court has dangerously opened our state without any structure in place to ensure safety. In the absence of a statewide plan to ensure a safe re-open, I appreciate the local leaders – especially in Kenosha County and the City of Racine, where COVID-19 cases continue to rise at a troubling rate – who stepped in to provide structure in the void that the Supreme Court’s decision created.
In recent weeks, the state has had positive momentum towards reaching the metrics provided in the Governor’s Badger Bounce Back plan, and the Governor began turning the dial and re-opened retail stores this week. Throughout this process, I have kept an open mind towards alternative perspectives on how best to open our economy safely, and I will continue to do so. However, any acceptable plan must incorporate increases in testing and contact tracing to ensure that we can contain the spread of COVID-19.
Combating this virus should have united us against a common threat. We all want to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy, and we all want our small businesses to re-open safely so that our state can get back to work. Unfortunately, the original Stay at Home order was politicized by Legislative Republicans, who have spent months criticizing the Governor’s plan to keep Wisconsinites safe, and engineering lawsuits against the administration at taxpayer expense. Now, they have gotten their wish. Legislative Republicans will now control the process of approving the plan that comes next.
It is imperative that Republicans immediately release their full plan for the re-opening of the state. Time is of the essence, and Wisconsinites deserve to see the details of the plan that Republicans were so eager to substitute for the Safer at Home order.